I’ve got something of a love-hate relationship with the Destiny series. Sure, they’re enjoyable shooters…but they could be so much better with the odd change here and there. Okay, more than an odd change. Maybe a complete revamp of head-scratching design decisions like the Grimoire Cards from the original game. So much of the gaming world seems to have moved on to other ambitious, massively-multiplayer shooters (hello, Overwatch) that it might take a miracle to get fans excited again.
Still, it’s hard to deny that Bungie tends to improve these titles over time, as we see with the latest expansion: Destiny 2: Forsaken.
The Reef, home of the Awoken race, is going downhill. There’s been a prison break and plenty of baddies have been escaping so they can lay waste to the solar system. Who’s behind it? How do you stop it? What’s the deal with the suddenly-villainous Fallen prince Uldren Sov and the always-villainous Barons? The answers to these questions and more will, as usual, be found at the end of a gun barrel as you explore the Tangled Shore and the Dreaming City.
So what’s new here? Well, you’ve got a sorta-new set of baddies to blast called the Scorn, a new set of super abilities for each subclass, a bow and arrow weapon, numerous changes to the loot and equipment systems and plenty of looting and shooting to go around.
The new super abilities are probably the most immediately significant change – as a Titan player I was especially fond of the new banner shield for the Sentinel, but every subclass is probably worth a second look with the new abilities in mind. From a gameplay perspective, though, the change that’s going to matter the most is likely the return of randomized perk rolls on weapons. Much of the enjoyment of finding new loot returns with this, and while I could understand some of the complaints about the system, I found it adds a lot of longevity.
From a PvE perspective you’ve got a sizable campaign to wade through, including some interesting boss fights, a couple new Strikes and a new Raid. Destiny’s story has always been all about Proper Nouns and Vague Statements, but there’s been a definite push toward a more character-driven drama in Destiny 2. We see that continue here, including the death of a beloved character (insofar as a Destiny character can be beloved) fairly early in the game, so no spoiler warnings are necessary. It’s no masterpiece, but Forsaken’s plot works for what it is.
From a PvP perspective you’ve got the new Gambit mode. I’m not really sure what to compare this one to, but the closest I could get might be a MOBA-like akin to Battleborn. Shooting mobs generates motes that can be spent to summon a boss that can be defeated for the win, but you also need to deal with the other team as well. If you’re into Destiny PvP this is likely the premier way of enjoying it at this point.
As mentioned, I’m not exactly a full-on fan of Destiny 2, but I’ll admit that Destiny 2: Forsaken is a solid expansion along the lines of The Taken King. It’s certainly better than the iffy content drops we’ve seen for this game since launch. If every DLC release and expansion for this franchise was this comprehensive I think I’d be in a different place entirely with regards to how I feel about Destiny. As it stands, Forsaken represents a sizable improvement to the base game that shouldn’t be missed by the faithful.